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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Such a Sinister Concoction...
By Sally Hanan


The wailing whine in her voice and the clawing hands and body thrown about my legs were about to push me to the garage mallet. Foreseen disaster was imminent. A thought stopped my hazardous plans, and a sinister concoction of motherly manipulation and deceit began to form. I wagged my finger at her.

“No smiling in this town allowed.”

My three year old wet eyes looked up at me as if I had gone completely crazy this time. (I’ve always been a borderline case.) She let go of my legs and backed away slightly, mesmerized by this new response.

I used it to full effect and placed a large frown on my face. “There will be no laughing.”

The right corner of her lips began to lift, even while her eyebrows were questioning this new reality.

“No giggling.”

The other side of her mouth began to join in.

“Hrrumph! I SAID NO SMILING ALLOWED! This is Misery Town, and you MUST stay miserable!!” My acting skills lacked considerable merit - okay, they completely lacked merit - but I pretended to look as if I was trying not to smile with her.

Her little body began to quiver with giggles so I knelt down to tickle her tiny frame in punishment.

My plan was stunning enough to stop the whining for at least another few hours ... back then. Over a decade has since passed, and today we live in the kingdom of a teen princess who thinks she is a queen. Though I tried the Misery Town trick on her just yesterday, all I got in return was a lavish display of eye-rolling and a solid view of her back. She’s far too smart for her own good - that one.

It’s just as well that my joy is not in the fleeting moments of happiness I manage to bring to her, and it does not disappear when I fail in my suspect subterfuge – it is in the moments when I stop to think about God and His place in her life, and mine, that joy is pulled up from the deep well within –

and He grabs
the brimming bucket
to pour its contents over me

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This article has been read 1377 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie OConnor05/26/06
I love the motherly manipulation...I think every mother has done something of the sort. I certainly have. The ending is beautiful! Your title is awesome. I had to read it.

The beginning was a little rough, the "wailing whine, clawing hands and foreseen disaster," were a little too much. The garage "mallet" was a little jarring for me, too. (Do most people have mallets? This may be a culture difference.)

Great message. :-)
James Clem 05/26/06
I like the title (not sure how it fits.) Interesting comparision between girl-hoold and teen-hood. And it does touch the topic at the end. Could have incorporated the topic a bit stronger in the beginning showing it as a joy instead of a "manipulation technique." A fun story though.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/26/06
Very cute story! I agree that it needs a tad work at the beginning, but overall quite good.
Jessica Schmit05/27/06
great, great, great. I'm really enjoying seeing more true to life pieces being created for FW. I really enjoyed this story, it was entertaining, fun well written and carried a heavy, 'right on' message. I also loved the way that you wrote. You wrote in pictures and drew the readers in. One sentance "My three year old wet eyes looked up at me..." was a little off (i think you forgot an "s") Bbut I really enjoyed the rest and all in all-a very good, strong piece. Worthy to be titled "master." Great work.
Jessica Schmit05/27/06
oh, and I loved the beginning. I thought the drastic "sinister" approach really drew me in and delievered a very humerous result.
Suzanne R05/28/06
I enjoyed the end too. The whole piece was good.
Rita Garcia05/28/06
I found the first paragraph somewhat severe, but the rest
of the story was a great read. I love the age when the little girl becomes a teen princess! Great job!
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
I can't tell you how much I loved the ending of this! Okay, yes I can: I loved it immensely!
Rachel Rudd 05/29/06
Great story! I understand the beginning (having a four year old who still likes to throw tantrums) and the need for manipulation. Well-written!
Anita Neuman05/29/06
Well I quite enjoyed this whole thing. As the mother who is now known amongst all the kids' friends for her "strict" rule of "No smiling, no laughing and NO having fun" - this was delightful to read.

And that last little paragraph - I want that cross-stitched on a pillow, please! Wonderful writing!
T. F. Chezum05/30/06
Well written story. I enjoyed the read. Good job.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/30/06
This was really good. I loved the descriptions of the daughter in each time frame. I especially liked the way you ended it.